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Weekend Hot Topic, part 2: Best video game graphics


Uncharted 4 – knockout graphics (pic: Sony)

GameCentral readers discuss the most impressive video game graphics they’ve ever seen, from Batman: Arkham Knight to Skyrim.

The question for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Ishi, who asked what’s the most impressed you’ve been with a video game’s graphics? Was it purely because of the technical achievement or did the art design and camera work play a part as well?

Most of the answers we had were from this generation, particularly Rockstar and Sony games, but also some older games with more unique visuals, especially cel-shaded graphics, that stand the test of time better than most attempts at photorealism.

Visual formula
Say what you will about Sony and their formula, or their current caginess about the
PlayStation 5, but they have had the best graphics all generation and I don’t see any reason to expect that to change. I’m almost tempted to say that Ghost of Tsushima is the best-looking because that game looked amazing when they showed it off on Thursday (although I’m not convinced it plays all that interestingly).

God Of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn… they’ve all been amazing and The Last Of Us Part 2 looks great too. It will have a long way to go to beat Uncharted 4 though which I think is Naughty Dog’s best and probably the most consistently great looking game ever.

A lot of games have good landscapes and backdrops, and Uncharted 4 has that too, but what makes it so impress is how good the people look. You’d swear you were watching a movie half the time and I don’t think any game has come close to doing that as well as Uncharted 4. The whole section in Madagascar is just mindblowing.
Carlton

Driving innovation
I think the Forza games are consistently amongst the best-looking games around and I’m pretty disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be any plan for a new one this year. I’m sure one is underway and perhaps it’ll be the first Xbox Series X exclusive, as the games have always managed to show off the graphics of the Xbox the best of any game.

The lack of Xbox Series X exclusives has seriously put me off getting it this year, although I hope that there will be some clarification of what’s going on that will make this seem more sensible.

Gears 5 is another great looking game this gen and I can’t wait to see how it looks on the new console as there is supposed to be a dedicated Xbox Series X version coming. If Microsoft’s new console is the most powerful the I expect them to have the most graphically impressive games next gen.
Kataran

Complete experience
I still find Batman: Arkham Knight to be a very impressive game, even though it seems like it came out half a lifetime ago now. It was a fairly early game this gen but it managed to have a large open world and very convincing looking characters without any kind of performance problems. I don’t even remember there being any patches or technical problems early on.

This sort of thing has become very rare this gen but Arkham Knight not only felt complete when it came out but it felt like it was finished and I’m sure that added to the enjoyment of it, despite its few gameplay problems.

You felt the people making it knew what they were doing. You felt safe in their hands and ready to enjoy the game. I hope whatever the next Batman game is it can live up to the same ideals. Given how long they’ve bene making it, it certainly should.
Baker

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk

Beautiful generation
I think this generation we have been blessed with great graphics. I’ve been an early adopter this generation and remember been blown away by Killzone Shadow Fall when I first got my PlayStation 4.

Since then I would say that Red Dead Redemption 2 is probably the best-looking game I’ve played. There’s a bit near the beginning, near the town of Valentine, where you have a fist fight in the mud and it looks spectacular.

In terms of PlayStation 4 exclusives you would have to say Uncharted 4 is probably the best looking. The bit in Madagascar is just stunning. God Of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man deserve mentioning also. Looking at some of the upcoming footage of The Last Of Us Part 2 suggests it won’t be long before there is a new champion in town.

Xbox on the other hand has Forza Horizon 4 which, again, is up there as one of the best. I’ve also been impressed by Zelda: Breath Of The Wild on Switch. The Switch is obviously at a disadvantage, but the art direction often makes up for this.

Resident Evil 2 is worth mentioning but I personally feel no matter how good the graphics are in games with dark interiors and cramped tight areas they will never look as impressive as large open worlds with changing weather patterns and beautiful landscapes.
matc7884

That’s no cut scene
For me gameplay is the number one priority but graphics that have impressed me are in Bioshock 1. I started the game on Xbox 360 in 2008 and it was the first HD AAA game I played on my newish 1080i HDTV. Up till then I had been playing with the Wii and PlayStation 2 on my HDTV.

No spoilers, the cut scene started and I watched it and then the cut scene seem to be still going but not doing anything. I didn’t understand why it wasn’t doing anything, so I moved the analogue stick on the controller and I suddenly moved (!) and I realised the graphics were so good for me that I thought I was still in the cut scene and I was actually playing the game! I couldn’t believe how good the HD graphics were.

Also, this has been mentioned recently in the Inbox/Hot Topic, but when I saw Bad Influence in the ‘90s and they showed the clip of Super Mario 64 I was astounded by the graphics and I had never seen a video game look so good coming from the Mega Drive and Amiga.

When I first saw Sonic the Hedgehog 1 on the Mega Drive on GamesMaster or Bad Influence, I forget which, that was quite impressive for the time too, because of the bright colours and great graphics and the horizontal scrolling, as I was coming from Amstrad CPC 464 with a green monitor.

When I got a Mega Drive for Christmas with Sonic 1 and California Games, which I didn’t know I was getting, I was able to sample it.

Uncharted 4 was amazing graphically too, I liked how they went from the PlayStation 3 games, which were a bit more cartoony (with violence!), and then the graphics in Uncharted 4 had the characters look more realistic. Can’t wait to play The Last of Us Part 2.

For the new generation I hope they can impress me as much as some of these games and surprise me too.
Andrew J.

Raising the bar
For me it has to be Red Dead Redemption 2, the opening 20 minutes of that game in the mountains with the blizzard blew me away.

The footsteps in the snow as you placed each foot and the snow falling off the trees as you brushed by them, that made me go, ‘This is how every game should look’. That for me raised the bar so high no other game has come close to it.
David

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Creation Engine
One of my favourite games series probably has to be the original breakthrough in graphical designs for The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. When playing the PlayStation 2 for years and gradually seeing the graphics of games getting better and better, with textures looking more realistic, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 just blew me away.

In an open world game everything has to be equally good to keep the immersion going. Oblivion did this for me. The only bad design, or seemingly rushed part of the game, were the normal non-player character face designs, of which they fixed that part in Skyrim (thankfully).

I was literally living and exploring in such a real looking world, with such graphical immersion. Skyrim set the bar higher yet again. Fruit, flowers, cutlery, cups, and pots, etc., all the little things were as well designed as the huge world around them. Clothing, characters, jewels, and weapons were gorgeous to look at.

These games came out a while back and have since been beaten in terms of graphical quality, obviously by a long way since then. Two outstanding games of which many timeless hours (and I mean a lot of hours) living out my fantasy in the fantastical worlds which are some of my favourite games ever.
Alucard

E-mail your comments to: gamecentral@ukmetro.co.uk


The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

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